Instead of having two separate screens on a flip phone—one larger inside and one smaller outside—this patent allows one larger screen to rotate to be displayed both on the inside and outside. This means possibly having the screen auto swivel so you can see the same UI when the phone is closed as you do when it's open. It may allow you to dial just from the contact list when the phone's closed, instead of having to flip open the phone to make a call.
The upside is that you can keep your phone closed more often, but it exposes the screen to the elements. Sony Ericsson is also shooting at a broad target with this patent:
"The mobile terminal of the present invention is not so limited and may find utility in other electronics devices and applications...a Personal Communications System (PCS) terminal that may combine a cellular telephone with data processing, facsimile and data communications capabilities; internet/intranet access devices; organizers; a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) that can include a radiotelephone, pager, internet/intranet access, Web browser, organizer, calendar and/or a global positioning system (GPS) receiver; wristwatch keypad devices; and a conventional laptop and/or palmtop receiver or other computer system that includes a display.
It'll be interesting to see what develops.
Patent Application [USPTO via Mobile Scraper via Mobile Mentalism]